Decluttering, cleansing, finding myself again underneath all of the debris.
Ever since I first had one up until now, my desk has always been a mess. The result of a scatterbrained eagerness for any kind of learning, an ache to pick up new skills like a child wants to adopt every stray puppy they see.
Fountain pens for calligraphy,
charcoal for sketches,
pages of Spanish vocabulary,
a mandarin handbook.
There was always a story to be found in the messes I made. Always something to read in between the layers of stuff strewn all over. We all leave traces behind. Like the wind carves unfathomable patterns into sand dunes, like the waves imprint the shore in abstruse motifs. Like paw prints left in the mud, marks left against a tree trunk. Oddly, I felt this was mine.
Something about it felt deeply personal. Like that mess pattern was one only I could create, one wrought from my whimsical thinking, my moods, my interests, my states of mind, my worlds. Something that was entirely different from what another person’s mess would be like if they had the same items at hand. It also gave me a lot of places to hide behind. Behind a book or wads of paper, lead staining my fingers to keep people away, making them believe in the idea of intense creation, of passion and creativity running wild, something that should not be interrupted, obstructed.
But I also kept a lot of junk.
Ridiculous things I was too afraid to throw out. Because somehow, they became not souvenirs, but escape routes. As though holding onto them would take me back, away from not so pleasant realities. I hoarded these insignificant things, bits and bobs, almost compulsively. I dug my nails into these scraps from the past, into wood shavings left from once impressive moments. I kept so many things because sometimes the present is scary. And the future both marvelous and uncertain; foreign. But the past, the past is home.
It was then, I think, that nostalgia sank so deep into my skin. Filled my pores with the scent of old pages, of yellowed memories. Gave me this faraway look that I cannot shake from my eyes. Cloaked me in gentle sadness, in longing for a place and time that no longer exist outside of my brain and its peach-coloured memories.
I lived in the past. In worlds spun from idealised, romanticised memories. I swam in diluted truths also given new life by a bored imagination, a creativity itching to get started again.
I have began throwing them out, now.
Detaching myself from the havens they once promised.
It’s a sort of materialism, too. I realise. By wanting to keep a moment alive through an object, you end up glorifying it instead, sometimes forgetting why it even matters so much— you just know possessively, agressively that it does.
So yes, I am done with the button that fell off one of my clothes at some point in time. Done with random junk from my school days. And old receipts.
But I am still keeping my movie ticket stubs. Still wondering how I am going to reuse the unstitched sleeves from my ship-wheels and sailboats dress. Because, come on, that’s symbolic. I’m also cleaning out my phone. Deleting near-duplicates of the same shot. Keeping only what matters truly (and well a little bit more, too).
And I am not obsessing over keeping things either. I am not digging my nails into things, not wrenching my arms possessively around overflowing cardboard boxes. I am learning to let go. To enjoy now.
Mentally too, it’s liberating. Like I’m shedding years of old relationships that no longer hurt now that I am freed of them. No longer am I fractured, either. I am not whole, but…pieced back together, even if sometimes it feels like I just stuck a band-aid on it and prayed the bits and pieces would hold themselves together.
Under the weight of clutter and memories, I feel like I shrank a bit all this time.
Even now, I am still messy.
But I clean up more often. I throw out old bills, pamphlets. I don’t let things clutter my space, my mind. After all, with all these useless things out of the way, I can finally set to work on creating a mess that is all me.
Listening to :